Charlie Montoyo’s firing overshadowed the Blue Jays trade targets talk, at least for the time being. But that doesn’t mean that the Canadian franchise will be passive and just stay put throughout the trade deadline. They still have enough time to turn things around and get better.
The Blue Jays trade deadline needs are quite obvious at this point. Their starting rotation has been underwhelming after the big investment they made in the offseason. Yusei Kikuchi and Jose Berrios haven’t been as good as expected, and Hyun-jin Ryu’s injury made things even tougher.
With that in mind, let’s dig deep into the latest Blue Jays trade news, the players they could and should realistically target, and how they could boost their chances for the second half of the season, regardless of who’s the manager.
Blue Jays trade targets
The Toronto Blue Jays believe they can win right now. They boast a promising core with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette leading the way, and they don’t want to waste a single second of their careers. If that’s the case, then they need to pick up the phone right now.
Luis Castillo was one of the Blue Jays’ trade targets in the offseason. His velocity is down a tad this season and he did miss the first stretch of the campaign nursing an injury. Also, he’s not getting any younger, and there will always be legitimate concerns about his durability.
But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t look to lure him away from the Cincinnati Reds anyway. Castillo has a nasty repertoire and has proven capable of being a legit ace. All he needs is a change of scenery and playing for a team that actually wants to win.
Castillo isn’t likely to stay put for another season in Cincinnati. They’re looking to tank and rebuild, and the Blue Jays have enough appealing assets in their farm system to get a deal done. He’d boost their rotation even when Ryu is back next season.
If the Reds set a steep price for Castillo or the Blue Jays face plenty of competition for his services as expected, they can always turn their attention to one of his teammates. Tyler Mahle had a promising start to his career before the ‘sticky stuff’ controversy drastically affected his spin rate.
But Mahle’s mechanics are still elite. Some believe all he needs is a different approach and a new pitching coach to get back to being the same player he was in the first half of last season. It’s a risky gamble, but he shouldn’t demand such a big return in a potential trade.
Mahle is just 27 years old so he fits the Blue Jays’ timeline. He’s never been put in a position to succeed, nor has he had such a talented offense backing him up.
Don’t lie, you haven’t watched the Pittsburgh Pirates play this season. At least, not before they finally called up Oneil Cruz. That’s why not many people are talking about Jose Quintana, who’s having a pretty solid season, yet quite under the radar.
The Colombian veteran has been consistent and steady for the ever-struggling Pirates. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is good and he’s missing plenty of bats every time he sets foot on the mound. But, in reality, the Buccos have no use for a player his age on their roster.
Quintana hasn’t drawn that much attention this season, yet he could provide a back-of-the-rotation boost for contenders and pretenders. He could even work as a long reliever if the Blue Jays somehow manage to turn things around with their shaky rotation.
It’s not a secret that Frankie Montas will be at the top of every single team’s wishlist when the trade deadline comes. The Oakland Athletics fielded dozens of calls for his service when they went through yet another fire sale in the offseason. Somehow, he managed to stay in Oakland.
The A’s know that Montas could be a middle-of-the-rotation option for contending teams. More than that, he’s got ace upside, and that’s why they decided to hold on to him. So, expect a huge bidding war for his services as we get closer to the deadline.
That could make things tough for the Blue Jays to land him. But it’s clear that they want to contend right now and that they won’t hesitate to be aggressive and pull the trigger if a potential All-Star becomes available. This might be their best chance.
Even though not many people are talking about him, Pablo Lopez might well be one of the best players available ahead of the deadline. He’s posted Cy Young-caliber numbers year in and year out, yet the Miami Marlins are pretty much wasting his talents.
The Marlins have made it clear that they won’t part ways with Lopez at a discount. So, any team looking to trade for him will have to make a significant offer for them even to consider picking up the phone. But, then again, you can’t win unless you make some sacrifices.
Lopez has made a case for being the best pitcher in the Marlins’ impressive young rotation, even ahead of Sandy Alcantara. But he’s also struggled with injuries throughout his career, which is why they’d feel comfortable moving on from him at the right price. He would be the ultimate high-risk/high-reward pickup for the Canadians.